There’s a big argument in a few circles I am in, that people in the majority (race/sexual orientation/sex etc) shouldn’t speak about what the minority needs. The ideology is that its yet another way to marginalize and hold down that minority group by not “allowing” them to speak for themselves.
I think it CAN BE another way to marginalize.
But-someone speaking out on our behalf isn’t someone “NOT ALLOWING” us to speak out. They are ANOTHER VOICE added to ours. We can use it. A large choir can be heard further out-because they are louder! Let them join in the battle calls!
I am a woman (sexual minority) and I am LGBT (orientation minority) and I am polyamorous (relationship style minority). I have and do experience discrimination and marginalization in these arenas. It sucks and I hate it. I do fight it.
** I APPRECIATE when allies speak out on my behalf. **
I treasure it.
EVEN IF they don’t say exactly what I would have.
Even if they miss part of the point.
Even if I could have said it my own self.
In fact; I PREFER that they speak up and speak out. There voice can reach places mine can’t. Their voice combined with mine can reach more places than either mine or theirs alone.
Because here’s the reality; the people who listen to me are PRIMARILY the people who don’t need to hear it. The ones who need to hear it, often won’t listen to me. But they might listen to someone they see as being “like them”.
If a sexist man learns to change because another man tells him off; I don’t give a SHIT that it was a MAN who was speaking out about the needs of women. I am just glad SOMEONE said something!
If a homophobic jerk learns to question their attitudes because my HETEROSEXUAL husband told them to get off their high horse cause his wife is bisexual and she rocks OR that his kiddo is gay and he rocks:
FUCK YES. That’s my reaction. “Go MARK!” I don’t think “that’s fucking bullshit that Mark was talking ON MY BEHALF. It’s fucked up that the other person wouldn’t listen to me. But it’s NOT fucked up that Mark was willing to step up and defend me. No way.
When someone is stepping up as an ally; that’s someone who cares. I LIKE to know someone cares. I don’t need them to UNDERSTAND my dilemma. I don’t need them to experience it. I certainly don’t need them to walk on eggshells worrying about offending me by defending me! HOLY COW! That would make it LESS LIKELY that they would defend me! Wait-that’s ass backwards!
When someone in a majority group speaks out on the behalf of a minority group-they deserve to be appreciated. They are the ones who will listen to us and we can educate them even more-because they’ve already proven that they are open to hearing it. They can HELP US WIN THE WAR.
They aren’t the enemy.